I had an epiphany lately. I’d like to believe that I got two of life’s greatest lessons from bungee jumping and skydiving:
- The more you think about it, the more it will get difficult for you.
- Make it your damn mission to be happy every day.
But first, let me take you to two months ago in March when I was in New Zealand for an adventure trip. It was my 31st birthday and wanted to spend my birthday kissing the sky, that is, skydiving in Queenstown. It was a scary idea but almost everyone does it so I thought, “How bad could it be?”
To warm up for the ‘big day’, I decided to flex my bravery by deciding to bungee jump a day before.
“Pfft, bungee jumping will be a piece of cake,” I told myself. It was my first time to jump off a ledge but didn’t think it was that big a deal.
After all, I had psyched myself many times that I’m pretty gutsy for a Filipina. Over the years, I’ve had wonderful solo travel adventures that make me smile to this day: roughing it out in all ASEAN countries, watching a ping-pong and ladyboy show in Thailand – alone (and curious!), getting detained by immigration officers at the Thai-Malaysia border, dangling my feet at World’s End in Sri Lanka, almost getting arrested in Nepal for “indecent behaviour”, traipsing alone in Europe for two months, diving in Coron’s shipwrecks, and living independently in Malaysia since 2011.
After two dozen countries and enough solo travels, bungee was peanuts, right?
“One, two, three…bungee!,” shouted the AJ Hackett guy.
I was supposed to run and throw myself off the ledge in the freestyle position I played over and over in my head.
I couldn’t do it. I froze.
I was paralysed with fear, with my heart racing and hands sweating cold. I tried it two more times and stopped shortly at the edge, milliseconds from jumping.
I just couldn’t do it.
“Look, this is taking a bit too long. The more you think about it, the more it will get difficult for you,” said the guy who was clearly getting pissed.
To avoid further embarrassment, I just closed my eyes, ran and jumped off the ledge. See…?
It felt like…falling. I didn’t thoroughly enjoy the experience but it was a wake-up call for me about one thing:
I had never – and I mean, never – been so terrified in my life.
I couldn’t think of any past life experience that shook me to the core like bungee jumping did. And what a ridiculous thing to say! Because I’ve had bigger, more serious things in life: the death of my father, the end of relationships, and falling into a career and personal rut. I tackled these head on and maybe got scared, but never terrified.
I Kissed the Sky
Then my birthday came. Skydiving threw my happy-o-meter through the roof that even I couldn’t understand it.
It just made me so…happy. I watched my video many times and wondered why I couldn’t be THAT happy every day. I envied the girl in the video (me), and promised myself I’ll finally do what I’ve been planning for years:
Quit the rat race and live a life of freedom.
So thanks to bungee and skydiving, I had the last straw.
Enough thinking. It’s my choice to be happy.
Written in May 2015